If anybody asked me to note down a top 10 list of the most beautiful places I have ever visited, Death Valley would be at the very forefront of my ranking.
A friend once asked “Why do you go there? There is just nothing there!”
Maybe she was a little right, because it seems like it’s a great spot of nothing, but actually she is not right at all, because Death Valley is a very striking scenery of a diverse desert.
Besides wondrous rocky solitudes and sand dunes every so often you can find little water springs. Death Valley captures the so called White Gold, borax. For many industries this is a very important chemical. Although the territory is a national monument since 1933 and a national park since 1994, even today borax is recovered within the borders.
There are many visiting points at Death Valley.
Devil’s Golf Course for example is an area of spiky and knife-sharp salt crystals. Stumbling would hurt a lot.
In Badwater the salt is spread evenly onto the earth and builds a thick crust. Walking on this salt lake you find yourself at the deepest point of the American continent – 86m underneath the sea level.
You should absolutely pay a visit to the Golden Canyon, where you can walk though flamboyant rock formations.
An definite must do is Zabriskie Point, from where you have a great view over parts of the valley and the Golden Canyon.
Going to Death Valley is the most beautiful during sunrise or sunset. You don’t want to go at noon anyways, because the valley is known to be the driest and hottest point on the North American continent.
The maximum temperature during summer climbs up to 56,7°C!
If you are travelling with a rented camper during the months of May to September, you want to make sure at first, if you may go to Death Valley, as it is forbidden by many car agencies that time of the year.
The valley area encompasses over 3 Mio. acres of designated wilderness. It is very difficult to visit all interesting sites on only one day. If you are lucky to be there in the afternoon, be sure to spend the sunset at the Mesquite Flat Dunes, as the dunes look perfect in the twilight. If you like sand dunes very much, a bit outside of Death Valley towards Las Vegas you will find the Amargosa Sand Dunes. They seem to be placed in the middle of nowhere. They are way off the road and it can be a bit spooky, because you might be the only one out there.
It is a bit creepy driving around the streets through Death Valley in the dark. There is hardly any other car and sometimes you are not quite sure if it’s really still the street you are driving on.
The best would be if you spend the night close to the valley, for example in the little sleepy town called Beatty. It is a very small hicksville, barely lit-up.
However, in the middle of the town there is this (probably only) one saloon. It’s a dark wooden house. When we went there, old people sat in the front at the bar. We quickly walked towards the restaurant behind the bar.
The restaurant area is enchantingly illuminated by industrial lamps. There are pool tables in the middle and fruit machines on the walls. The tables are covered with plastic table cloths. When we placed our order, the nice waitress explained, the cans from the beverage dispenser are cheaper than the drinks from the bar.
What a nice hint!
The waitress, who is also the chef of the restaurant, then started preparing our microwave heated meals and placed the food tenderly in plastic baskets and cups. We loved this place, it had its charm. We felt there was absolutely a need for a drink, so I went to get some wine from the bar.
Let me tell you, this place is unique and while I looked around, it hit me with a broomstick. I didn’t see anything special rushing through towards the restaurant earlier, but as I got to the bar I saw hundreds of dollar notes pinned to the walls. Each of them signed by people from all over the world.
I have heard of this place. It was in magazines, on TV – everywhere!
I never knew, where exactly this bar would be, but on that strange and funny night I found myself in the middle of it. I asked the woman behind the bar: “Could it be…?” I didn’t even have to finish my question. “Yes, darling. It can be.” Full of excitement I ran back to my friend to tell her where we ended up. Later we sat at the bar and read through all different kind of notes. It took another one or two wines until we gained enough courage to ask for a pen and the stapler.
Solemnly we fixed our dollar bill onto the wall.
In case you will visit Death Valley and also Beatty one day:
Please, go to that saloon, look out for our dollar bill and send me a picture, please!
Travel tip shared by Landmeedchen